What is Brodart Reading?

We at Brodart are pretty interesting readers. I recently polled staff to find out what we have been reading these past few months and I am in awe of the results! Wow, we have eclectic tastes and we do like to read. As I put this list together, I kept stopping to add titles to my own “must read” list and I will bet money that you can't go through this without doing the same. From juvenile to adult, fiction to nonfiction, biography, new to old, bestsellers to sleepers, this is a list to come back to again and again for inspiration and ideas.

The answer to what we're reading is quite simple: Click here to see the titles.

But if you're interested in what's behind this list, read on…

The exercise really got my juices flowing. I was fascinated to learn more about my coworkers' motivations in choosing what to read. I know what I like to read, and why, and how. But it was a sheer delight to get a glimpse into other people's internal thought processes in selecting books.

What prompts us to read?
  • We read our grandfather’s favorite author
  • As royal weddings make headlines, we dig out our Welsh grandmother’s collection of old British royalty books and memorabilia
  • We read in secret as members of the Caldecott Committee
  • We read our book group’s next choice
  • We read an author’s book before we go to hear her or him speak, we read authors who have been condemned for their alleged behaviors, and we read for sheer comfort

Where do we read?
  • On airplanes
  • Listening to audiobooks while driving
  • We read and work in our offices, surrounded by a smorgasbord of bright covers, and genres, and reading levels
  • We fall asleep as our spouses read to us, and doze as we read to our children and grandchildren

Why do we read?
  • We surprise ourselves with what we read
  • We come back to old favorite authors, comforted by words, phrases, and passages
  • We read in ruts, and with courage to get out of ruts
  • We read to understand the world…we read to understand ourselves
  • We read to assemble recipes for church publications
  • We surprise ourselves
  • We take comfort; we experience discomfort
  • We read for business
  • We read for self-improvement
  • We read for adventure
  • We read for stimulation
  • We read to fall asleep

Do our tastes point to any industry trends? It does seem that juvenile publishers in particular are focusing on empathy, sharing, politeness, kindness, thoughtfulness, and tolerance. There could be a lot of reasons for this: Publishers may think people want these themes. Or perhaps people really see a need to teach these life skills. Maybe there is a nostalgic yearning by those of a certain age who long for the “Leave It To Beaver/Father Knows Best” days when most children just seemed to possess these skills (or parents actually taught them). It could even be a reaction to contemporary political wrangling and the behavior of certain people in the limelight.

Another trend is partnering: A longstanding author partners with a fresh unknown, while a politician partners with a bestselling author.

To paraphrase Dickens, we read the best of books, the worst of books, we read for wisdom, we read for foolishness, we read to believe, we read because we cannot believe, we read in an era of hope and despair, we read in the season of light, we read because there is so much darkness, we read to find hope and to rekindle dreams, we read without expectation, we read to learn from our mistakes, we read to understand ourselves and our world, we read to forget ourselves and our world, we read to remember, we read to forget.

We read to offer kindness to ourselves and we offer reading to others to offer kindness to them. We read because we learned early to read, and have therefore known for decades the richness of imagination and the spark of life and the magic of words that our eyes and ears and minds absorb.